How to Make Your Own Board Game (with Pictures)

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How to Make Your Own Board Game (with Pictures)
How to Make Your Own Board Game (with Pictures)

Want to impress everyone tonight? Or are you looking for a fun way to teach in class? Do you have an idea for a game that only you and your friends will understand? Creating your own Board Game can satisfy yourself, your child, or your class. Follow these instructions to make your Board Game idea a reality.


Part 1 of 3: Designing Games


Step 1. Write down your idea

Taking notes in a book or computer helps you come up with good ideas. Use these notes to write down all the ideas about your game. This will help you separate the good ideas from the bad ones. There are two approaches in designing this game, namely: Themes and Mechanics. These two concepts are the foundation of all board games.

  • Theme is the core of the game, it can also be used as a genre. Games like Sorry! have a simple theme in defeating your opponents where complex games will have themes about major conflicts and player strategies.
  • Mechanics are the basic way players communicate with the game. In monopoly, the mechanics revolve around dice, buying property, and making money. In Axis & Allies, the mechanics revolve around moving big points between spliced boards, using dice to resolve conflicts between players.
  • There is no right or wrong when it comes to designing your game. Some people go from mechanics to themes, where others create themes first and then create mechanics that match the theme.

Step 2. Determine the age range of the players

Knowing your age range helps you develop game rules that are appropriate for your age target. For example, if you are designing for young children, the theme should be simple, fun, and easy to understand. For adults, you need to design something interesting and competitive.


Step 3. Set goals

When you have a basic idea of your game, also define goals that will help you shape your game. Ask yourself what kind of experience you want your players to have, what you want to achieve from this game. Consider the following:

  • How many players can be involved in this game. Are two people fun enough? Or more?
  • Think how long this game will last. Also think about the first game where players will still be adapting and learning this game.
  • Ask yourself how complex this game is going to be. Some people like complex games with bold instructions whereas others like simpler and easier games.
  • Consider how much of your game will depend on profit or skill.

Step 4. Decide how the player will win

The end of the Board Game is a crucial aspect because players need the final goal as an incentive to win. Consider different ways for players to win.


Step 5. Write down the ground rules

This may change as the game develops, but the ground rules can get you started right away. Always remember the conditions for winning and make sure all the mechanics are clear.

Part 2 of 3: Testing the Game


Step 1. Create a test game

Before you start working with the actual game, make a rough test game so you can dabble in the mechanics. It doesn't have to be too pretty, you just need to see if this base is working properly.

  • Remove markers or plates from card stock or index cards.
  • Use coins or poker chips as counters.

Step 2. Sketch a rough draft of the board design

This allows you to specify more or less detail in the final design. Depending on your theme and game mechanics, your board may or may not include these elements:

  • Track. Be sure to add starting and ending places and create clear directions for the characters to move. Decide whether to split or add lanes to add variety or length of play time.
  • Play ground. This is the opposite of the path. Games that have areas do not require paths. Risk is an example of a game that uses a playing area rather than a track.
  • Position for landing. It can be defined by shape (square, circle, triangle) or drawn object/location (rock, island, cloud). Make sure that some positions will redirect players, instruct them to take cards, or cause them to lose or gain items. When designing a position that can move a player to another position, be careful not to create a domino effect (example: A "Two Step Back" position will move a player to a "Five Step Forward" position).
  • Playing cards. Random cards will add variety to the game. A card usually tells a quick story that affects the player such as adding or subtracting value and can also move the player's position. Having lots of cards will make the game more interesting.

Step 3. Test the prototype

When you have all the basics for your rough draft, you can start testing the game and see how it plays out. Before showing it to others, play it yourself first by playing with all the characters. It will be quite difficult to fight yourself, but you will get a lot of information.

  • Always write down what works and what doesn't and make changes that you think will suit the game and other components.
  • Try to break your game by testing against yourself. See if there is a way where players can always win if they do a certain way, or if there are rules that don't match.

Step 4. Play with friends and family

When you've had enough of your own game, try it for a real test. Gather friends or relatives and explain to them that you want to try a new game. Let them know that the game is still in development and you value any input.

  • Take notes as the game progresses. Take notes when someone doesn't look happy, or when the rules seem confusing. Watch how the game ends. If one player is always far superior, see how that happens. Board games are more exciting if there is a competitive atmosphere.
  • Don't defend yourself when criticized. Criticism is useful to make your game better and fun for everyone, be polite and write it all down.
  • If possible, try to see how the game goes without you getting involved. This will help you see how a group of people who are unfamiliar with the game play.

Step 5. Test with different people

Try getting different players to play your game. Everyone plays this differently, and a lot of testing will make your game more suitable for everyone. The more people play your game, the more you will find the flaws in your game.


Step 6. Improve your game

After you finish the test game, make changes to your board, rules, or components to make it more fun to play.

Part 3 of 3: Making the final product


Step 1. Gather your materials

Once your test process is complete and you are satisfied with the results, you can start to create the final version of your game. Make a list of what your final game will need.

  • Board games usually revolve around a board, or a binder board. This gives a professional feel to your game.
  • You can use your old game board as a base if you don't want to buy a new one.
  • Use cardstock to use as the canvas for your board.
  • Cut playing cards or buy a pack of blank cards from a hobby shop.
  • Press the circle out of the cardstock to use as a token or counter.

Step 2. Illustrate your board

Your board game is the center of your board game, so you are free to be creative with the design. Make sure the path or play area is clear and all instructions on the board are easy to read.

  • There is no limit to the items you can use to design the board. Anything you can use.
  • Make your board design as attractive as possible so that it will catch the attention of the players.

Step 3. Make a play plate

You can draw on paper and then paste it onto a thick material such as cardstock. If you're making a game for family or friends, you can even use player photos. If you want to spend a little money, you can use the help of a professional to make this section.

  • To make your slab stand up, cut a bit of your cardstock so it can make a 3D triangular fold (like a photo frame holder), then stick it behind your slab.
  • Another way to make your slab stand up is to apply foam under your slab.

Step 4. Create additional materials

If your game involves using dice, you can use your old dice, or you can make your own. To do this, you'll need pins, round pieces of cardstock, cardboard arrows, and a marker. Stick the pins through the arrows and cardboard slabs and then draw the result.


Step 5. Take a look at the 3D print

If you really want your game to be interesting, try 3D printed slabs. You'll need to send a 3D model to the company that made this, but the result will look like a custom slab from a game in store.


  • Don't forget the front cover! Make it look creative and colorful depending on the theme of the game.
  • If you're making a rule book, make it look neat and easy to read.
  • Try to get creative with the rules.

    • For example, instead of moving the same distance on the track, give players special tokens for moving in different directions over a period of time.
    • Add a game room that takes you to another room or doubles your next turn.
    • Have a different end goal than just reaching the finish line.
    • Make cards that show what color to move (like in Candy Land).
  • Get opinions or ideas from other players before finalizing your game. Ask friends, family and think “Is this what I want?” Remember, your friends and family will also play this game.
  • Don't make a game with an unclear theme because it can confuse your players.
  • You can use the illustration board (illustrators often use to draw)
  • If your board game involves a flat square, use a ruler to design it so it looks neat and tidy.
  • Create a mini Board Game. You can use the bottle cap as a slab.
  • You might consider designing the ground rules and those that evolve depending on who will be playing them. If implemented properly, the simplified version can be used when introducing the game and the expanded version can be used once everyone is familiar with the basic rules.
  • If you don't have access to a 3D printer, make slabs by printing out cartoon characters and sticking them on an eraser.


  • Make sure your rules are fair. The goal of the game is to provide an engaging, fun and positive experience – and not to cause misunderstandings from your players. If you have a misunderstanding, of course the atmosphere will be bad.
  • Don't make the rules too complicated. Keep them short and simple. Anything that is too complicated will make players uninterested and difficult to make.
  • If you plan to publish or sell your game, make sure you don't get involved in licensing and copyright issues. You may have to modify your game.

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